A DONEGAL TD has slammed as ‘an absolute scandal’ the fact that workers in Donegal who live in Northern Ireland are unable to avail of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
The payment, of €350 per week, is available for employees and self-employed who lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, applicants must be resident in the Republic of Ireland.
Sinn Féin TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn has hit out at the exclusion of employees from Northern ireland. It is estimated that 30,000 workers cross the border to work in the Republic every day and many have been hit by the recent lockdown.
“It needs resolved because it is clearly unfair and unjust,” Deputy Mac Lochlainn said.
“It is clear from reading the advice in normal times, if there is a temporary lay-off, you claim in the State in which you pay your taxes and social insurance.
“People are very angry that we have a situation where we have thousands of workers across the whole border region, based in the six counties, who have paid their taxes in the Republic and are not entitled to this €350 a week Covid-19 payment.
“We are fighting and challenging this. The Government have not resolved it yet.”
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has written to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, and are awaiting a response.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “I am shocked at this. This Covid payment is an emergency measure. It isn’t a normal unemployment benefit. Students wouldn’t normally be entitled to any support if they lost a job.
“These normal rules are left aside for workers resident in the south, but not for workers from the north. We are appealing to the Government to resolve the issue.”
The Buncrana-based politician added: “A restaurant owner has pointed out that he has a chef who has worked in a hotel for 20 years and has been asked to go into Derry and look for Universal Credits. This person could be waiting weeks for money.
“Then you have someone who was washing dishes for weeks who is entitled to payment because they are resident in the Republic of Ireland.
“We also have the E&I factory in Burnfoot, for example, where there is a very high percentage of the workforce resident in the north. That factory is reduced to a staff of 300 from around 1,000. The workers from Derry are not entitled to any money where the workers from Donegal are. That is just deeply unfair.”Tags: